Lotte Group seeks to stabilise key businesses amid pandemic

15-Jul-2020 Intellasia | KoreaTimes | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Lotte Group Chair Shin Dong-bin has emphasized the need to stabilise and enhance work efficiency within its main businesses rather than to seek new growth engines amid the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic.

“We believed the COVID-19 outbreak would be over soon, but it seems we will have to live with it through the end of next year. Economic activity is expected to shrink 70 percent to 80 percent compared to 2019 and I think this 70 percent growth will become the new norm,” said Shin during Lotte Group’s annual meeting of company presidents held online, from the company headquarters in Jamsil, Seoul, Tuesday.

To survive in such a difficult situation, Shin said the group needs to take this moment to look back and improve work efficiency.

“The first thing CEOs should do is improve working efficiency” Shin said. “In 1998, Korea suffered a financial crisis and in 2008 when Lehman Brothers collapsed, we had to bear the hard times for one or two years before recovering. But COVID-19 is totally a different situation and it is time for us to reassess our business strategy. We have to reconsider our plans on international trade and business globalisation.”

Lotte Group has been building many manufacturing facilities abroad to optimise production, but the chair said it was perhaps time for the group to renew its thinking on supply chains and investments.

“It is also an unstable time in terms of international politics and we need to take a different approach in our overseas businesses. There are still chances for success in many different businesses in the local market and to overcome the COVID-19 crisis. It is important that our subsidiaries create synergy between themselves,” Shin added.

This is the first time the annual meeting has been carried out in a web-seminar style. Shin suggested utilising online systems more for communication and to check on overseas operations as he did recently.

After returning to Seoul from Tokyo in early May, Shin has been visiting the group’s business sites nationwide including department stores, supermarkets and a hotel to check on them. He said many were doing well but there were some improvements that needed to be made.

“It is important for us to quickly adopt a digital transformation and discover new businesses or new growth engines. However, it is also imperative that we check on the competitiveness of the businesses we have been pursuing. Don’t be tied to short-term performance and try to reinforce our main business through innovation,” Shin said.

During the meeting the chair and over 90 executives of Lotte Group’s subsidiaries gathered to share their performance in first half, and management planning for the second half of this year.

“‘I am prepared for the worst, but hope for the best’ is what Benjamin Disraeli said. If we do what exactly he said, we can overcome this crisis,” Shin said.


Category: Korea

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